Dr. Martin Luther King took his last breath on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee only a moment before he was assassinated in that very spot.
The streets of Memphis hold countless amounts of secrets and scars from violent acts of crime. This is why many people refer to Memphis as one of the first places to birth gangsta rap, aside from the West Coast. Enter Three 6 Mafia and from the Mafia family came a distinctive southern voice of rage and rebellion, a powerful voice belonging to a female named La Chat. With sincere humility and a deep respect, La Chat bears a deep empathy for the painful streets of Memphis — the same streets that have birthed a variety of musical legends of all genres and from all walks of life.
Although La Chat hasn’t been with Three 6 for quite some time, it’s afforded her independence, which she’s parlayed into her own label for the first time in her career. Despite moving independently, people have taken notice, as you can see with well over two million MySpace views. Read on as La Chat wears her heart on her sleeve in this exclusive BallerStatus interview.
BallerStatus.com: Let the readers in on what is going on with your career.
La Chat: I got my new album out now called Da Hood Homegirl on my own label called Dime A Dozen. Sometimes in life, you lose so much, so whatever I lost before, it can come back to me a dime a dozen. I’m the CEO of my label and I got Murphy Lee, Pastor Troy, Gangsta Boo, T-Rock, Criminal Manne, and some other upcoming artists on the new album. Of course, I did my thing on it as well, but that you already know. I’m the boss and the artist, and it’s a blessing because I’m in total control of my career and I’ve never been in control before.
BallerStatus.com: What made you decide to start your own independent label?
La Chat: I started out with Three 6 Mafia, it’s where I got my first start. I was on “Chickenhead” (a duet with Project Pat) and I was in the [Three 6 Mafia] movie called “Choices.” I did the album Murder She Spoke and we were having some pay issues and I ended up having to leave. Then I dropped Ultimate Revenge, Dramatize and Bad Influence, but ain’t nothing like having your own if you are able to do it. I branched out and went for it. I’m letting everyone know, if you got your dreams, they can come true. You just got to have faith, go forward and it can happen. I got my nephew, cousins and my son helping with my label. It’s a family business.
BallerStatus.com: Being with such a mega-successful group like Three 6 Mafia and seeing the inner workings and infrastructure with their label, did that help you with your own label situation and overall business strategy?
La Chat: Three 6 [Mafia] kept me in the dark about everything. I didn’t know anything about royalties, publishing … so when I left them, I was like a new artist. People wouldn’t imagine all the stuff I was left in the dark on. I never had any of my publishing, and what they were doing was, when we would do a verse, they would cut a check. We would sign off on it and really, we were signing our publishing and rights away. It wasn’t a good situation and I really didn’t know if I was going to rap again after that. I had to move on and I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I just stood out on faith and kept moving on. [Three 6 Mafia] could do nothing but sign my release papers ’cause I didn’t do nothing wrong to them. Paul told me, “You know Chat, I like you and I hate that it didn’t work out, and if there is something else you can do better, then I’m gonna let you go.” I now know about distribution and how everything works in the business.
BallerStatus.com: Who is handling your current distribution?
La Chat: OarFin Distribution out of Minnesota. I kept them a secret until I dropped, because I didn’t want too many people to come in who might feel like they are doing more than me. I didn’t want anyone else to come and cloud them because they were excited about working with my project. People would have come and tried to take the focus from me, so now you know … OarFin!!! (laughs)
BallerStatus.com: Tell us about your new single, “Do Ya Dance,” with Murphy Lee.
La Chat: It’s a dance song and I wanted to get someone who you wouldn’t expect me to get. I’m a leader, not a follower, and I didn’t want to get who everybody else was getting and do what everybody else is doing, so I just thought who can I get on this song. Then it came to me: Murphy Lee. So, I just made some calls and we made it happen. I do got status in the game and everybody knows who I am in the game. I called Murphy Lee and he was like, “Guess who I got on the phone, I got La Chat on the phone.” And I was like, “Guess who I got on the phone, I got Murphy lee on the phone (laughing).” I really want to thank him for that. It’s a nice song and the kids love it. They are grooving to it like a Soulja Boy record.
BallerStatus.com: Tell us about your new joint with Pastor Troy.
La Chat: It’s called “Get Groovy” and the song is like an independent song for both men and women. I represent the women in the song and Pastor Troy represented the men on it. My songs with Murphy Lee and Pastor Troy are my two radio singles.
BallerStatus.com: Ok, so you got two songs with big features as your singles, but what would you select, as your personal two favorite songs from Da Hood Homegirl?
La Chat: That’s a hard question. Let me think … I would say “Keep It Tuck” and “Truth Hurts.” “Truth Hurts” is talking to all the men out there. Like if you go to jail, what am I going to do, you know, cause the truth hurts.
BallerStatus.com: What would you say is the overall theme, or the message you were trying to convey with this album?
La Chat: I rap about everyday living. I don’t get on the mic and just rap. I’m always talking about something that is real, and what is real to me. I’m gonna talk about something that you are going through, or somebody you know and what they are going through. This is how I’ve always been. Some people think I am too raw and other people love the fact that I am raw. I just come straight out with it and you got to love me for it. I represent the women to the fullest.
BallerStatus.com: What’s something that some hip-hop heads might not really know about Memphis, Tennessee?
La Chat: Memphis is the home of gangsta rapping. This gangsta sh** is all we know. I don’t feel like Memphis gets looked at as much as we should, or do we get the credit that we should get. MJG is from here. Three 6 Mafia is from here. Yo Gotti is from here. Gangsta Boo and Gangsta Black are from here. We got legends and we got a lot of upcoming artists who are smashing through the door. We are the original hip-hop baby, we was born with the hip-hop in us. We got a lot of talent that needs to be exposed as well, so I will be signing some artists from here with my own label.
BallerStatus.com: What’s up with the female emcees, or should I say, the lack thereof?
La Chat: They try to make it hard for the women, but you would think that they would understand that women are the most strongest people that God has created. Most of these men out here are raised by a woman. They try to kick us out of the game, but we are going to find away to stay in. If you are good at what you do, you cannot be denied. I’m gonna keep knocking at your door, and I’m going to keep knocking at your wall, because I can’t be denied. This is what the people tell me — they love me.